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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 382
Monday, February 6, 2017

Rivergator Celebration: St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico

We have a few open seats on our 1154 mile-long adventure down the longest free-flowing section of river in America! (outside of Alaska). You can join and help us celebrate the wild powerful beauty of the biggest and baddest river in North America. Jump on board for a day, a week, or the whole thing -- whatever your schedule will allow.

The Rivergator Celebratory Expedition

March 20 to May 10, 2017
St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico

Y’all, we are celebrating the 2017 completion of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Middle/Lower Mississippi River, with an 1154 mile long adventure: paddling the trail from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico! (This is the single longest section of free-flowing river in the continental US).

The Rivergator is now live at — with one million words describing the Middle and Lower Mississippi River — and thousands of photos, videos and maps.

You can join in for a day, a week, or the entire 6 week adventure — whatever fits your Spring 2017 schedule.

Journalists and media: This is all about sharing the story of the river, so we are reserving 4 seats per segment of the river for photographers, writers, film-makers, bloggers, and anyone who will help us get the word about the wild raw beauty of the Lower Mississippi River.

Keep reading below for itinerary and more info. Please contact or to reserve your seat, or for more information.

The route is St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico, 1154 miles of free-flowing river. March 20 to May 10, 2017. Anyone is welcome to jump on board our voyageur style canoe. No previous experience necessary, but must enjoy wilderness-style camping and must be willing to paddle.


March 20 to May 10, 2017: Itinerary subject to adjustment according to wind, water levels and prevailing weather conditions. For detailed descriptions of route go to

St. Louis

(This section In coordination with Big Muddy Adventures of St. Louis)

Monday, March 20 (Vernal Equinox): Meet 3pm at Columbia Bottoms Boat Ramp (on the Missouri River). Pack your gear into drybags and load the big canoe. Push off around 4pm down the last three miles of the Missouri River. Camp at Missouri/Mississippi Confluence on Duck Island.

Tuesday, March 21: continue downstream from Duck Island, Route 66 Bridge, City of St. Louis Waterworks, the I-270 Bridge, and Chain of Rocks (portage might be necessary). Camp: Mosenthein Island.

Wed March 22: Great Arch, LaClede’s Landing, the Stan Musial Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (newest bridge on the Mississippi), Eads Bridge, the McKinley Bridge, East St. Louis, Anheuser Busch Brewery, Jefferson Barracks, JB I-255 Bridge, Meramec Confluence.

Thurs March 23: Herculaneum, Harlow Island, Fort DeChartres, Calico Island, Osborne Island, Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area

Ste Genevieve

Fri March 24: Ste Genevieve, Moro Island, Kaskaskia River, Chester, Rockwood Island

Sat March 25: Tower Rock, Grand Tower, Trail of Tears State Park, Devil’s Island

Sun March 26: Cape Girardeau, Marquette Island, Thebes, Pawnee Hills

Cairo/Ohio River

Mon March 27: Big Bends of the Middle Miss around Dogtooth Island and Missouri Sister Island, Cairo, Fort Defiance, Ohio River Confluence

Tues March 28: Wickliffe, Columbus Belmont, Wolf Island

Wed March 29: Hickman, Is No 8, Reelfoot Lake, Bessie’s Bend

New Madrid

Thurs March 30: Bessie’s Bend, New Madrid, Kentucky Point

Fri March 31: Tiptonville, Lee Towhead, Hathaway/Island 14, Sandy Hook Bar, Caruthersville

— April 2017 —

Sat April 1: Island 18, Is 20, Is 21, Mouth of the Obion, Tamm Bend

Sun April 2: Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska Landing, Island 25, Island 26 and Forked Deer Island 27

Mon April 3: Ashport-Keyes Gold Dust, Lower Forked Deer River, Island 30, Osceola


Tues April 4: Sans Souci Driver Island, Old Mouth of the Forked Deer, First Chickasaw Bluff, Sunrise Towhead - Island 34

Wed April 5: Hatchie River, Randolph Landing, The Second Chickasaw Bluff (Richardson Bluff), Dean Island


Thurs April 6: Denseford Bar and Dikes/Hen and Chicks, Meeman Shelby Forest State Brandywine Island, Hickman Bar, Loosahatchie River, Redman Point Bar, Memphis Upper Waswater Treatment Plant, Wolf River, Mud Island, Memphis "M" Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge), 4th Chickasaw Bluff, Memphis

Fri April 7: Meet at 12 noon Mud Island Park Boat Ramp and push off downstream Lower Bridges/Engineer's Bar, President's Island, Entrance to McKellar Lake, Dismal Point, Ensley Bar

Sat April 8: Josie Harry Bar, Cow Island Bend, Cat Island No.50, Starr Landing, Tunica Riverpark Museum, Buck Island (No. 53), Basket Bar

Sun April 9: Commerce Bend, Rabbit Island, Mhoon Landing, Mhoon Bend, Whiskey Chute/Walnut Bend, Whitehall Crevasse, Tunica Runout, Shoo Fly Bar, Stumpy Island


Mon April 10: Harbert Point, Mouth of the St. Francis River, St. Francis Bar, Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead), Trotter's Pass, Helena Harbor.

Tues April 11 (Passover/Full Moon): Re-Supply in Helena

Wed April 12: Re-Supply in Helena

Thurs April 13: Re-Supply in Helena

Fri April 14 (Good Friday): Yazoo Pass, Montezuma Towhead, Friars Point, Kangaroo Point, Dewberry Island 61, Old Town Bend, Island 62


Sat April 15: Island 63, Quapaw Landing (Clarksdale), Muddy Waters Wilderness, Burke’s Point, Mouth of the Mellwood Lake, Mouth of De Soto Lake, Jug Harris Towhead, Island 68, Island 67

Sun April 16 (Easter): Wood Cottage, Knowlton Crevasse, Island 69, Cession’s Towhead, Hurricane Pint (Dennis Landing), Island 70, Henrico Sandbar, Scrubgrass Bend, Smith Point Sandbar, Mouth of the White River, White River NWR

Mon April 17: Big Island, Victoria Bend, Old Channel of the White, Wreck of the Victor

Great River Road State Park, Rosedale Harbor, Arkansas River

Tues April 18: Prentiss Sandbar, Mouth of Lake Whittington, Caulk Neck Bar, Cypress Bend, Catfish Point Bar, Choctaw Bar Island, Mounds Landing, Arkansas City


Wed April 19: Yellow Bend, The Greenville Bends, island 8, Leland Neck Point, Warfield Point State Park, Greenville Harbor, Greenville

Thurs April 20: Sunny Side Landing, Greenville Bridge, Lakeport Towhead, American Bar, Kentucky Bend

Fri April 21: Leota Bar, Cracraft Chute, Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88, Bunch’s Cutoff, Corregidor Bar, Wilson Point Bar, Mayersville, Tennis Court Landing

Sat April 22 (Earth Day): Baleshead, Stack Island, Ben Lamond, Shipland WMA, Fitler Bend, Arcadia Point Bar, Cottonwood Bar, Chotard Lake, Terrapin Neck Cutoff, Willow Island


Sun April 23: Eagle Lake Pass, Tara Landing, Madison Parish Port, Paw Paw Chute, Brown’s Point, Mouth of the Yazoo River, Vicksburg

Mon April 24: Vicksburg Loess Bluffs, Delta Point, Vicksburg Bridges, Racetrack Towhead, Letourneau, Palmyra, Togo, Middle Ground Island

Tues April 25: Big Black River, Grand Gulf State Park, Yucatan Ditch, Coffee Point Dikes, Diamond Cut-Off, Port of Claiborne County, Bayou Pierre, St. Joseph Boat Ramp, Bondurant Towhead

Wed April 26: St. Joseph, Waterproof, Natchez

Thurs April 27: Natchez, St Catherine's Wildlife Refuge, Carthage, Warnicott, Homichitto River, Washout Bayou, Artonish, 3 Rivers WMA

Fri April 28: Ft. Adams, Old River (Mouth of the Atchafalaya River), Angola Ferry & State Penitentiary, Shreve’s Bar, Hog Point, Tunica Bayou, Polly Creek, Little Island, Iowa Point

Sat April 29: St. Maurice Island, Bayou Sara, St. Francisville, St. Francisville, John James Audubon Bridge, Fancy Point

Sun April 30: Thompson Creek, Profit Island, Devil’s Swamp, Istrouma Bluff

— May 2017 —

Baton Rouge

(This section in coordination with the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper)

Mon May 1: Re-Supply in Baton Rouge

Tues May 2: Baton Rouge, I-10 Bridge, Baton Rouge to Plaquemine Red Eye Dikes Manchac Bend, Plaquemine, Nottoway Plantation, Bayou Goula Towhead

Wed May 3: Point Clair, White Castle, Philadelphia Point, Eighty-One-Mile Point, Donaldson, Bayou Lafourche, Bayou Teche, Bringier Point, Point Houmas, Sunshine Bridge, Oak Alley Plantation, Magnolia Landing, Paulina.

New Orleans

Thurs May 4: Bonnet Carre Spillway, Twenty-Six Mile Point, I-310 Bridge, Huey P. Long Bridge, 9-Mile Point, Audubon Park, Algier’s Ferry, French Quarter, Algiers Point.

Fri May 5: Algiers Point, Industrial Canal, Algier’s Lock, Poydras Bend, English Turn Bend, Caernarvon Crevasse, Twelve Mile Point, Shingle Point, Belle Chasse Ferry, Jesuit Bend, Will’s Point

Sat May 6: Will's Point, Poverty Point, Point Celeste, Pointe A La Hache Bohemia Beach, Mardi Gras Pass, Happy Jack, Sixty Mile Point

Sun May 7: Tropical Bend, Point Pleasant, Ostrica Pass, Buras Landing Boat Ramp, Fort Jackson, Plaquemines Bend/Fort Jackson Point, Baptiste Collette Bayou, Venice, Grand Pass Island, Cubit’s Gap, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Pilottown, Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero

-0- Mile Zero

Mon May 8: Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero, Southwest Pass, South Pass, Port Eads

Lower South Pass Island, Pass A Loutre, Southeast Pass, Last Camp on Expedition: on the Gulf of Mexico (Full Moon Night!)

Gulf of Mexico

Tues May 9: Paddle back upstream to Venice, Grand Pass Island, Cubit’s Gap, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Pilottown, Head of Passes, -0- Mile Zero, final takeout at Cypress Cove Marina in Venice.

Tues May 10 (Full Rose Moon): Drive back through New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Vicksburg, return to Clarksdale. Shuttle back to Memphis, St. Louis, or points in between, as needed.

Contact: John Ruskey, 662-902-7841 or to reserve your seat, and for more information.

Mission: We are celebrating the opening of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Middle/Lower Mississippi River Water Trail, now live at

Route: St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico, 1154 miles of free-flowing river

Dates: March 20 to May 10, 2017

What is the Rivergator Celebratory Expedition?

In Spring of 2017 we’ll be paddling the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico in a 45-day expedition to celebrate the completion of the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail.

Who can Join?

Anyone is welcome to jump on board our voyageur style canoe (Option: if you are an expert paddler you can bring your own vessel). No previous experience necessary, but must enjoy wilderness-style camping and must be willing to paddle!

Journalists on board:

This is all about sharing the story. We are reserving at least 4 seats on every segment for writers, photographers and any journalists who will help us share the story about the beautiful and dynamic Mississippi River and the Rivergator Middle/Lower Mississippi River Water Trail describing it. This includes newspapers, magazines, bloggers, local media, documenters, and any other form of media.

Daily Schedule:

Coffee (or tea) at sunrise, breakfast one hour later. Pack up and get on river around 9am. Paddle and explore 2 hours. 1 hour lunch at noon. Paddle and explore all afternoon. Camp around 5pm. We will probably average about 5 hours/day of paddle time in the canoe. This expedition is all about exploration, discovery, and sharing. We like to stop and explore along the way. So when there are interesting sites to see, we stop a lot, maybe once every hour for a 15 min to 1/2 hour (maybe as long as 2 hour or even half day if schedule allows) walk or hike for documentation, or tracking, bird watching, beachcombing, swim, or whatever. Lunch is usually an hour. Also, a mid-day nap sure feels good on the river! There is room in the itinerary for flexibility… so if the weather is bad, or the crew is worn out, we might stay on shore one full day, and each person will be at leisure to do as they please. On the other hand some days we be “voyageur-style” and stay in the canoe longer (maybe 2-3 hours at a time for a total of 8-12 hours of paddling) to make distance, or because the weather is bad.

Food & Gear:

Outfitter Quapaw Canoe Company provides all necessary river gear & emergency equipment. Normally we prepare all food & refreshments, drinks include water, teas and coffee. Alcoholic beverages BYOB. We will pack all necessary cookware and eating utensils, as well as camp tables and camp chairs. Pack favorite snacks. Vegetarian and vegan options available.

Bring all personal gear and stuff into our waterproof drybags before launching (or use your own). These are backpack-style bags made of tough waterproof material - great for packing on a rainy day! It takes three complete fold to make them water-proof, be sure to lock all four buckles! If you have any questions, check with your guide.

Be prepared for everything from heavy rain to hot days with intense sun UV exposure! Sunlight is surprisingly strong on the river, even in the winter (you get the sun twice – once from above and once reflected from below). Sunburn is our number one complaint and has caused more than one Mississippi River paddler very painful days and sleepless nights. Be forewarned! Sunglasses, sun screen, long sleeve clothing and a wide brim hat are all good ideas, especially for anyone particularly sensitive.

Camping equipment and wetsuits: You will need tent, sleeping bag, pad, wet (or dry) suit and neoprene (or comparable) boots. We can supply to anyone who needs them. Otherwise, bring your own and pack with your gear into our dry bags.


Remote islands, sandbars, towheads, usually sandy places, sometimes it’s necessary to make a muddy landing. In inclement weather it might be necessary to find shelter within the forest. This is primitive camping on a river island, no services of any sort. Bring everything you need to make yourself comfortable. Bring your own toiletry. Bring a change of warm clothing, including summer months, when mornings can be cool. It’s always cooler on the river.

Upcoming Events:

Ongoing throughout February and March: Dugout Canoe Carving Workshop. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 4-5pm except for when on river trips.

Sat Feb 11th February Full Moon is for lovers! Full Moon Night Paddle in the Big Canoe. Meet at 2pm at Quapaw Canoe Company and board our shuttle bound for the muddy banks of the Mississippi River. Paddle to remote sandbar island for supper and moonrise. Paddle downstream to next landing by the silvery light of the Moon. Bonfire and Potluck. Email for more details and/or reservation.

Wed, Feb 15th, PawPaw Booksigning at Quapaw Canoe Company. 4-6 PM, 298 Sunflower Avenue in downtown Clarksdale. We guided Andy as part of his pawpaw quest five years ago to a secret pawpaw garden we know about tucked in the forest of the Muddy Waters Wilderness. Come hear stories and maybe taste fruit samples with Andy and the Mighty Quapaws. We will have copies of the book available for sale. PawPaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit. By Andrew Moore. Hardcover: 320 pages. 2015, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Thurs Feb 16th at 5:30 p.m. For the Love of Books Gala, a fundraiser to support the Community Book Talks series (Carnegie Public Library: the library with a canoe on its card!). Contact Sarah Ruskey at 662-624-4461 or Jen Waller at 662-345-3555.

Saturday, Feb 18, 2017: LMRF General Annual Membership Meeting. Our general annual membership meeting takes place at noon on the Saturday closest to Valentine’s Day. The 2017 meeting is 12noon Saturday, Feb 18th, at Quapaw Canoe Company Clarksdale, with a potluck, and Sunflower River Cleanup afterwards. Come join us, if you can. We will have canoes and paddleboards for the cleanup. If you can’t join us, then wherever you are -- love your river. And as we say around here: “May the River be with You!”

March 20 -May 10: Rivergator Celebratory Expedition March-May 2017. Now filing seats! You can sign up for the 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico celebrating the completion of the Rivergator: one million words describing the Lower Mississippi. Your participation in this celebration will help make it a success!

April 20-23: Juke Joint Festival. Go to for more info.

Coming up in Fall 2017: Quapaw Canoe Company Artist’s Retreat! One week on the Mississippi River with your pens, paints, paper, guitar — whatever your tools of creativity are. Bring your gear, we’ll take of the rest including guiding, outfitting, meals and campsite. By hand-crafted voyageur canoe.

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Our Projects:

Rivergator: 1Million words describing the Lower Mississippi River:

Wild Miles: 71% of the Lower Miss is wild according to river rats. Will it stay that way?

Mighty Quapaw Apprenticeship Program: long term apprenticeships developing personal character and young leaders through canoe building, big river guiding, and survival skills on the Lower Mississippi River.

LiNKS = Leave No Kids On Shore

LiNK-ing kids to the big river and mother nature -- with the passion of a LYNX.

Every LiNK in the chain is as important as the others. Real-time experiences for the betterment of personal health and environmental conservation along the Lower Mississippi River.

Friends of the Sunflower River

Established in 2005 for cleanups, paddle events and other educational programming on the Sunflower River.

River Arts

Youth program begun in 2012 as an after-school river activity in conjunction with GRIOT Arts.

Our Friends:

Quapaw Canoe Company: custom-guided wilderness expeditions on the biggest and wildest river in North America, in our hand crafted cypress strip voyageur canoes. Now with outposts in Memphis, Vicksburg, Helena and Natchez. Home base: Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Big Muddy Adventures: custom-guided adventures on the Missouri, Mississippi, Meramec and Illinois -- covering the Grand Central Station of America's rivers from home base St. Louis.

Library Love Letters Campaign

Libraries across the state are facing budget cuts, and some are even cutting hours and closing branches. To let legislators and lawmakers in Jackson and Washington know that communities value libraries, the Mississippi Library Association has organized Library Love Letters, and you can help! Just come by and fill out a postcard explaining why you love the library or what it means to you or to the community. You can send it along to lawmakers, or let us do that for you. We hope this coordinated effort will make us more visible and allow us the resources we need to serve Coahoma County.